If you are planning to participate in the traditional Halloween festivities of dressing up, you might be guilty of self-censoring your costume, even tossing away your favorite bomb-diggity idea because you are worried you will be accused of cultural appropriation. Don’t.
You may believe that a costume isn’t a hill you want to die on, and I get that, but where does it end? Where does the infringement of your right to express yourself clash with someone else’s idea of offense. According to an article today in The Hill, “Colleges and universities have warned students not to dress as Indian chiefs or Mexican bandits, while parents have publicly debated whether they can allow their children to dress as the Black Panther or Moana without being accused of cultural appropriation or racism.”
Cultural appropriation is a foggy term based on a presumed premise that any sort of ethnic, racial or sexual group will be offended if you borrow from their culture. Over the last 10 years or so we have watched a small group of super-sensitive activists demand that schools change their team mascots, been told by racial identity groups that if you are white you cannot braid your hair or wear hoop earrings or if you are a little girl you shouldn’t dress as a Disney Princess.
Having Mexican day, Italian day, or whatever day is “hurtful.” But who doesn’t love taco Tuesday or a Polynesian themed bar? When I lived in the mountains of western Maryland, fall festivals held by locals who come from generations of Germans and Dutch were the pinnacle of the season. Nothing was more fun than attending numerous fall beer festivals and eating German food, listening to German music and watching German dances.
All of this cultural appropriation nonsense is disguised as sensitivity when in fact, it’s just old-fashioned bullying. The self-appointed pushers of cultural appropriation don’t actually care about the minority groups they purport to represent, what they really care about is creating a culture of homogeneity.
If you travel to the United Kingdom, the expectation is that you will enjoy British food, British people and British culture. Who doesn’t want to go to Europe without tasting the cuisine of France or visiting the vineyards and seaside of Italy. People who love to travel enjoy experiencing a culture different from their own. This is what true diversity looks like and why it is so universally appealing.
Activists worked hard to force the Washington Redskins to change their team name and logo, but it didn’t work. Why? Because the franchise pushed back. So maybe you don’t want to die on that hill this Halloween, but remember, there is power in saying, “No.” Dare to be different.